As the economy continues to shrink and costs keep rising, just about every town in England and Wales is experiencing a growing number of empty units on its business parks and industrial estates.
This is undoubtedly due in part to businesses being unable to sustain activity levels and has led to owners having to look for more creative ways to remain profitable.
One of the major travel agents, for example, has hit upon the idea of downsizing its shops and separately letting out part of each to a major coffee shop chain. It uses this symbiotic relationship to help secure booking choices whilst saving costs.
When it comes to owning business premises, many smaller company owners hold their business premises personally to keep them safe from the hands of receivers if the company should become insolvent. For others the premises are their ‘pension’, giving them the option to sell or rent out after they retire.
Selling off a portion of your business premises could be a good way to release some of your assets if you are struggling, enabling you to retain enough of the property to still run your business whilst having the potential for further disposal or rental income in the future.
This can however be a complex course of action to take, so it is important to ensure that you take account of all considerations such a move will require, including building regulation and planning permission approval. Each part of the property will need all the necessary utilities to operate autonomously, which may involve granting rights of drainage from the retained property to the new unit. In addition, the new unit may require rights of way to be granted to allow the buyer to egress over your retained property.
If you intend to sell land with the new unit, will your buyer want to know if they can obtain planning consent to develop the land before they complete the purchase? In these circumstances a conditional contract may be requested from the buyer. Whilst conditional contracts are relatively common, they do require more complex drafting than a straightforward sale.
Time spent thinking everything through with your solicitor before you make any decisions will be beneficial, to ensure you are aware of all legal and other implications.
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